April 01, 2007 03:56:23am
Re: Searching For Ron McKernon, aka Pigpen
Pigpen was one of THEE nicest cats on the scene as it were.
Regardless of how good a musician Ron actually was, he really was everyday people... approachable, down to earth.
I've heard he was generous with extra tickets on occassion.
One time he shared his wine with a friend of mine at the Fillmore right out on the main floor, early in the eve. He walked over to (Cyril Jordan) the younger cat, and was impressed when Cyril J pulled out a Beat Instrumental mag and showed him an ad for Marshall amplifiers.
Ron said the amps looked like they'd be the next big thing.
Cyril (lead guitar player at the time with the Flamin' Groovies) took Ron's tip to heart, and was the first one on the SF scene to get Marshalls (so he claims).
Pigpen wasn't shy, and shore knew what to do with center stage. But the first time I saw him live, in 1970 at the Carousel, he was a bit late getting there.
Bobby and someone else in the band were already in start up mode, but not without Ron... they were calling out for him, "Hey, Pig, man!"
A few gigs later in 1970 as well, I saw him do a great version of Easy Wind also at the Fillmore West, it seemed to go on for a long time, and his harp solo was incredible as I recall, maybe the high point of the concert.
Haven't heard that version since but I haven't forgotten my first impression, and while it appeared to me that Jerry G. was the natural leader of the band, Pigpen seemed to be in charge, the glue that kept the book of the Dead on the coffee table... he had an image, and I agree that he was the last link to the original band.
Thinks change, and the best books have multiple editions, initially in hard cover... they eveentually go soft cover... and sales increase, more people buy the nicer priced printings, but basically we're all reading the same book, and what a book, and if you can judge a book by it's cover, then check out some more prime Pig pix...
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